While corporate IT budgets are being slashed, IT departments are facing changes in network technology that are so important that they cannot be ignored. This involves aligning IT project priorities with business priorities and using open technologies to protect the investments made.
While corporate IT budgets are being slashed, IT departments are facing changes in network technology that are so important that they cannot be ignored. Of course, finding a way to keep up with the pace of innovation is not an easy task, but even those organizations that cannot boast of unlimited financial resources can cope with it. This involves aligning IT project priorities with business priorities and using open technologies to protect the investments made.
The networking segment is characterized by three major technology trends that are shaping the overall landscape of the industry: convergence, distributed networks, and software-defined networks (SDN). These topics did not appear yesterday, but only now they are becoming the main direction of the industry in terms of technology maturity and their place in the context of the challenges facing corporate customers.
What was the reaction of the network industry? Unlike the server market, where the release of the x86 platform opened up the market to other players and caused it to diversify, there was no price drop in this case as a result of a standardized low-cost architecture. Quite the contrary, CIOs are even more concerned about cost reduction than ever, as the networking market is still dominated by one big player who has managed to “tether” customers to their technologies, which allows them to adjust pricing in their favor.
However, new open technologies are gradually developing, and with them comes the freedom of choice. And as CIOs begin to focus more on developing networking strategies to take advantage of new innovative approaches more widely, the release of the latest cost-effective solutions that provide an alternative to traditional architecture is changing the rules of the game.
Convergence is not limited to networking, but the impact it has on how and (just as importantly) who manages networks should not be underestimated. Previously, IT infrastructures consisted of disparate “islands” managed by relatively independent administrators of servers, storage systems, and networks. When a department or division needed to allocate resources, this task was often too difficult, as it required complex “inter-island” approvals.
With the spread of virtualization, tensions have eased somewhat, as it allows you to overcome the fragmentation of domains, blurring existing distinctions. But now there is a new specialization – the virtualization administrator.
who has the burden of managing the myriad of technologies used by various vendors. The old fashioned way of building the virtualization infrastructure was to choose best-in-class standalone platforms (server, storage, and network), and manage the virtual infrastructure using pre-existing tools optimized for specific platforms and physical environments.
In recent years, a new model of x86-based virtual computing infrastructure, a converged infrastructure, has become increasingly widespread. The pools of virtualized resources provided by the latter can be used to power applications, support virtual desktop infrastructure, and organize private clouds.
A truly converged infrastructure must provide a number of key capabilities:
modular infrastructure – modular servers, virtual networks and intelligent automated storage platforms connected to federated SAN and Ethernet fabrics;
converged management – unified infrastructure operations performed using simple and understandable tools within standard common tasks;
delivery models – multiple flexible means for deploying converged systems by employees of the customer company: from completely ready, pre-integrated systems to a do-it-yourself approach;
Complete Reference Architectures – Flexible out-of-the-box enterprise deployments to support applications, virtual desktops (VDI), and the private cloud.
There is some lack of agreement on who should “own” the converged infrastructure. In this case, the network administrator will be able to manage the servers, which, however, does not necessarily lead to a proportional expansion of the powers of the server administrators.
The presence of flexible tools at the switching level will allow you to provide control within the network domain or transfer control functions to server administrators. It is this openness that will allow networking to bring the level of flexibility that businesses need.
Although Software-Defined Network (SDN) technology has not yet reached its maturity, it is widely promoted as a revolutionary change in network infrastructures, comparable in scale to the revolution brought about by virtualization in the server market. Traditional networking technologies have not been able to offer the level of flexibility that today’s networking professionals require – developers have.
at best, very limited ability to modify or transform network devices to provide deep integration between applications and network infrastructure. Network switches have always functioned in such a way that data routing is carried out by the built-in processor of network equipment. Therefore, IT professionals, if at all, had very limited control over the flow of data over the network.
A single control plane gives you control over your entire switch network and provides a flexible virtual network infrastructure that meets today’s IT needs. This is a more pragmatic approach to network management because it eliminates hours of manual configuration of routing and management rules, making it much more responsive to business needs.